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THE Lexus NX SUV tar­gets BMW’S X3 and Audi’s Q5 and has be­come one of the com­pany’s big­gest sell­ers.

The man­u­fac­turer has thrown the kitchen sink at the mid-size lux­ury SUV sec­tor.

The sharper looks and beau­ti­ful in­te­rior are sure to se­cure no short­age of or­ders and the im­proved safety sys­tem is a wel­come ad­di­tion.

If there was one word that could best be used to de­scribe Lexus, it’s prob­a­bly “au­da­cious”. This is a car man­u­fac­turer that doesn’t recog­nise bound­aries as many do.

For all its chutz­pah and am­bi­tion, Lexus’s foot­print has tended to be nar­row.

Yes, the com­pany has a lux­ury re­mit, but it’s still been ab­sent from many po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive mar­ket sec­tors where it ought to have been up­set­ting ap­ple­carts.

In short, the brand could do with more mod­els like this NX.

Lexus NX buy­ers are re­stricted to hy­brid power, a proven Lexus 2.5-litre petrol engine, gen­er­a­tor, mo­tor and bat­tery with a to­tal sys­tem out­put of 195bhp.

Of­fered in front and all-wheel drive ver­sions, the NX 300h is equipped with one or two elec­tric mo­tors re­spec­tively.

In­side, the key change is an in­crease in size for the cen­tral multi-me­dia dis­play.

The cen­tre­piece of the dash is a cur­va­ceous H-shaped metal frame that’s a world away from a typ­i­cally slab-fronted SUV fas­cia panel.

At the foot of the NX range, prices start at around £35,000 for a 2WD NX 300h, with the fig­ures then ris­ing all the way up to top Premier trim set­ting you back around £45,000.

Lexus of­fers no fewer than five trim level op­tions.

The most re­cent ad­di­tion to the line-up is the Lexus Safety Sys­tem +.

This equips the car with a range of ac­tive safety and driver as­sis­tance fea­tures.

Around town, the NX 300h hy­brid vari­ant brings the full ben­e­fits of its petrol/elec­tric pow­er­train to bear. .

Lexus needs the NX – and needs it to do well.

The NX may be a lit­tle too in­di­vid­ual to sell in the kind of num­bers its maker would like – but then that’s all part of its ap­peal.

It’s not per­fect but it’s never bor­ing.

And in a mar­ket sec­tor that’s get­ting just that lit­tle bit stale, it’s a breath of fresh air.

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